Actions by Enid city and public school leaders this past month have helped secure the role of what is truly a community asset, David Allen Memorial Ballpark.
Built 20 years ago in what had been a run-down area on the edge of downtown Enid, the ballpark is now one of the finest amateur baseball stadiums throughout America. It’s also incredibly popular, hosting more than 400 ballgames or community events each year.
David Allen Ballpark has for the past 11 years been site of the NJCAA Division II World Series, attracting 10 collegiate teams and their followers from across the nation to the 10-day tournament over Memorial Day weekend and the following week. That’s the headliner.
The ballpark also is home field for Enid High School baseball and softball teams plus numerous other tournaments and games for high school and college players.
Northern Oklahoma College Enid plays a majority of its home games at the downtown ballpark. Youth baseball camps and middle school games also benefit from the big-time atmosphere of the classic brick stadium, featuring a turfed infield, brick outfield fence and giant video board in center field.
It’s an awesome experience to be a 14-, 16- or 19-year-old player and have your name announced and see your face about 12 feet tall on the ballpark video board. Part of what makes David Allen Ballpark unique — a part that was recently reaffirmed by city and school board action — is its base of support.
The ballpark is managed by a not-for-profit association. It was built with privately donated funds on public land owned by the city of Enid. Ballpark operations depend heavily on the Enid Public Schools, which employ the ballpark superintendent/groundskeeper and concessions staff.
The school district also has purchased buildings surrounding the ballpark for use as softball offices, indoor batting cages, pitching and fielding practice areas, and multi-sport training facilities. Adding to the public school investment is a close, long-term relationship with NOC and a multiyear agreement to host the junior college tournament.
In short, David Allen Ballpark is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that works! Or, more exactly, it’s a city-school-college-private-business partnership that has benefitted Enid residents in untold ways over the past 20 years.
Kudos to Enid City Commission and EPS Board of Education for reaffirming that partnership. The News & Eagle Editorial Board meets weekly to form the newspaper's stances on mostly local and state and occasionally national issues.